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Learning Activities

All Learning Activities

Importance of Friendship

This lesson plan was designed with 11-13 year-old youth in mind. Included in this month's learning activity are the following sections:

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Objectives

At the end of this activity, youth will be able to:

  1. Describe the importance of friendship in their lives, and

  2. Identify at least three skills needed to develop and maintain friendships.

Time

60 - 75 minutes

Materials/Preparation

  • Flipchart paper
  • Markers
  • Tape
  • Six pieces of letter-size card stock with a friendship skill on each one
    (i.e., keeping a confidence, listening and understanding, etc.)
  • Copies of friendship story handouts

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Procedure

Introduction

Tell the group that today they are going to talk about friendships and some of the skills needed to make and keep friends.


Want Ads

  1. Post a piece of flipchart paper in front of the room that says "Wanted: Good Friend." Ask the group if they know what a want ad is and if they have seen one in the newspaper. Want ads are put in newspapers or magazines when someone wants to sell, buy, exchange, or give something away. Want ads are placed for jobs, cars, and even romantic relationships.

  2. Today we are going to pretend to put an ad in the paper for a new friend. In a few moments, you will divide into groups of two. In your small group, you will write an ad for a new friend on your own piece of flipchart paper. Be sure to mention the qualities that your new friend should have and/or not have.

  3. Give the groups about 10 minutes to complete this task. After 10 minutes, ask each group (or a sampling of groups) to post their flipchart paper in front of the room and then read their ads aloud to the entire group.

  4. Discuss the following questions with the group:

    • What similarities do you see between the lists?
    • How easy is it to find a friend that has these qualities? How easy is it to be one?
    • Do you think these ads would be useful if you were writing an ad for a boyfriend or girlfriend? Why or why not?
    • How do our relationships with friends differ from relationships with boyfriends and girlfriends?

Friendship Skills

  1. Tell the group that we are going to take a closer look at friendships. Why are friendships important? Record the group’s responses on newsprint.

    Some possible responses might be:

    • Support when you have a problem
    • A companion to do things with
    • Someone to talk to
    • Someone to learn from
    • Someone to make you laugh
    • Helps you not feel lonely, helps you feel part of a group
    • Makes you feel good
  1. Tell the group that there are some simple skills needed to make and keep friends. Have each of the skills described below written on cardstock. Ask for volunteers to post these cards in front of the room. Ask youth to help you define each skill.

    Skills needed to make and keep friends:

    • Keeping a confidence. For example, not sharing a secret. Breaking a confidence breaks trust, which is very important for building a friendship. Ask the group what trust means. Who is someone they trust? Why do they trust this person?

    • Listening and understanding. For example, if you want to share a problem, a friend will not interrupt, will pay attention, and will try to understand what you are saying and feeling.

    • Disagreeing with respect. For example, if your friend has a different opinion about something, you can agree to disagree. Calling the person "stupid" or telling the person that she is "wrong" and you are "right" only makes that person feel angry and does not help to build a friendship.

    • Giving support and encouragement. For example, telling your friend that you think he plays soccer really well, or that you really like his family, or that he is a really good person to study with makes him feel appreciated and valued.

    • Sharing. Examples of things you might share with a friend include your home, food, time, sports equipment, study tips, etc.

    • Respecting limits. For example, when a friend says she does not want to try a new drink, respect her limit and do not pressure her to try it.
  1. Ask the group what else they would add to this list. Record their responses.

Applying Friendship Skills: Skits and Discussion

  1. Divide participants into three groups. Give each group one of the stories linked to this activity. Ask one participant in each group to read the story out loud to their group. Then ask the group to discuss the questions at the end of the story. Give the group about 10 minutes for this part of the assignment.

  2. After 10 minutes, ask each group to act out their stories in front of the large group. Ask for three volunteers — one person to be the narrator and two people to play each of the friends in the story.

  3. After a group acts out their scenario, ask them to read the discussion questions and share their answers. Ask the larger group to share any additional thoughts.

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Summary

Friendships play important roles in our lives. Friends give us support when we have a problem, teach us new things, and are good playmates. It takes skill to make and keep friends. Learning how to keep a confidence, being a good listener, and sharing are some of the skills that people use to make and keep friends.

Adapted from the unpublished Wait4Sex curriculum, developed by ETR Associates and funded by the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention.

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